Not Just a Title: We Will Rock You

Freddie Mercury statue at the Dominion Theatre, London

As you may have gathered from some previous postings which I have writ [I’m not failing to edit these, this is just how Z talks -Ed.], your friendly neighbourhood Z has rather varying tastes when it comes to the fandoms she likes to wander through. Among these varying tastes would be that genre known simply as the musical. Ah, musicals – if life were more like you, well, I’d just hope mine wasn’t a Les Misérables, or a Sweeney Todd. That would kind of majorly suck. Plus everyone I know would just keep dying.

Anyway, I’m not exactly looking at those two today, I’ve looked at the former and the latter will require a rewatch of the versions I have to hand and I find myself getting off the point again. Musicals were originally a way of showcasing the popular music of the day and that’s sort of come back into style via the format of the jukebox musical. So prepare your time travel machine of choice; today we’re looking 300 years in the future, to the world of the Queen rock theatrical, We Will Rock You.

The plot is pretty much your overall 1984 style Orwellian dystopian future setting. For 300 years, humanity has become stagnant, with no real creativity or inspiration coming from any corner, but most importantly, no real music with feeling behind it., No, now all music is programmed by a computer and hits are planned decades in advance, along with fashion styles, popular trends, you name it. The worst of it is, people are happy in this stagnant atmosphere. Well, they’ve never known any better. The Globalsoft Corporation who own the planet – now renamed Planet Mall – keep them distracted with products that they simply must have. Humans are a simple people; there’s always that part of us that wants the easy life.

Enter our lead character, Galileo Figaro. A teen rebel, Galileo dreams of words and phrases and sounds from the past, a facet of his being that makes him break the law without even trying. Oh his graduation day from the Virtual High, he’s arrested, and it’s from there he finds out his destiny as the Dreamer; the man who is said to bring back rock ‘n’ roll.

Yeah, it’s all a bit sci-fi up in this place but to Rock You‘s credit, it takes itself as seriously as it ought to, which isn’t all that seriously at all. Written by comedian Ben Elton, the jokes come thick and fast with the funniest characters hand down being sarcastic female lead Scaramouche, who really can’t be having with the destiny bollocks, thank you very much. A pity, since she’s got one too – but that would be spoiling the play now wouldn’t it. The 20-minutes into the future type setting works very well for the concept of the show, especially if you happened to be of the opinion that all that’s on the radio these days is computer made crap that can’t really be called music.

The show is a love letter to music though. It loves the grand, theatrical nature that was the very essence of Queen, and the songs fit seamlessly into the storyline, their meaning being far more important than needing to change the lyrics. (Although the one song that does have lyric changes is very catchy). Everything about the show screams love for the golden age of rock and roll and even some smiley nods towards the more popular pop artists of the current times.

It’s the type of show with a built in fan-base and it’s been running in the West End for 10 year despite critics absolutely slating it when first released. Your friendly neighbourhood Z recommends seeing it, even just the once. You see, the title? It’s not just a title. It’s a promise.

I’d give the show a 4 out of 5 as while I love the self-deprecating cheese your mileage may vary.

Z McAspurren (Wants it all, and wants it now)

This entry was posted in Issue Nineteen, Reviews, Theatre and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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